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Using open source data in developing competitive and marketing intelligence

Craig S. Fleisher (Odette School of Business, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 25 July 2008




The paper seeks to show how the increasingly popular use of data and information acquired from open sources (OS) impacts competitive and marketing intelligence (C/MI). It describes the current state of the art in analysis efforts of open source intelligence (OSINT) in business/commercial enterprises, examines the planning and execution challenges organizations are experiencing associated with effectively using and fusing OSINT in C/MI decision‐making processes, and provides guidelines associated with the successful use of OSINT.


This is a descriptive, conceptual paper that utilizes and develops arguments based on the search of three unclassified bodies of literature in competitive and marketing intelligence, intelligence processing and marketing analysis.


Open sources are useful in marketing analyses because they can be easily accessible, inexpensive, quickly accessed and voluminous in availability. There are several conceptual and practical challenges the analyst faces in employing them. These can be addressed through awareness of these issues as well as a willingness to invest resources into studying how to improve the data gathering/analysis interface.

Practical implications

Marketing analysts increasingly rely on open sources of data in developing plans, strategy and tactics. This article provides a description of the challenges they face in utilizing this data, as well as provides a discussion of the effective practices that some organizations have demonstrated in applying and fusing open sources in their C/MI analysis process.


There are very few papers published focusing on applying OSINT in enterprises for competitive and marketing intelligence purposes. More uniquely, this paper is written from the perspective of the marketing analyst and how they use open source data in the competitive and marketing sense‐making process and not the perspective of individuals specialized in gathering these data.



Fleisher, C.S. (2008), "Using open source data in developing competitive and marketing intelligence", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42 No. 7/8, pp. 852-866.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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